Monday, October 12, 2009

Soros to Invest $1 Billion in Clean Energy, Form Advisory Group

There was no word on moves in his big-time oil* and coal holdings. From Bloomberg:
Billionaire George Soros, looking to address the “political problem” of climate change, said he will invest $1 billion in clean-energy technology and donate $100 million to an environmental advisory group to aid policymakers.

Soros, the founder of hedge fund Soros Fund Management LLC, announced the investment in Copenhagen on Oct. 10 at a meeting on climate change sponsored by Project Syndicate. The group is an international association made up of 430 newspapers from 150 countries.

“I want to apply rather stringent criteria to the investments,” said Soros in an e-mailed message. “They should be profitable but should also actually make a contribution to solving the problem.”

Soros’s announcement comes two months before 190 nations will gather in the Danish capital for a final round of negotiations on a new climate treaty that includes provisions to finance clean- energy projects in developing nations. Talks last week in Bangkok were marked by a dispute between richer and poorer nations over whether to renew or abandon the Kyoto Protocol, the only existing global agreement to reduce carbon dioxide, which is blamed for global warming.

Soros, whose own wealth accounts for much of the approximately $24 billion his New York-based firm oversees, didn’t provide any details in his speech on the type or scope of investments he might make. Michael Vachon, his spokesman, wasn’t available to comment on his specific plans.

10-Year Initiative

Soros, 79, also will establish the Climate Policy Initiative, a San Francisco-based organization to which he will donate $10 million a year for 10 years.

“It will be part advisory service, part policy developer and part watchdog,” said Thomas Heller, who is heading the initiative. Heller is a professor at Stanford University Law School in Stanford, California, whose expertise is in energy law and regulation and environmental law....MORE

*Just before the U.S. Export-Import Bank gave Brazil's Petrobras (PBR) a $2 Billion loan to buy U.S. equipment for their offshore drilling program Mr. Soros did some fancy stuff in PBR, selling half his enormous position in the common and buying an interesting preferred:

"Soros Slashes Stock Holdings, Especially In Energy (COP; PBR; POT)"

...Soros Active on Petrobras, Energy
George Soros has cut his stake in Petroleo Brasileiro.

The hedge fund billionaire sold off a chunk of the energy company, his biggest holding, in the second quarter.

A filing showed Soros, head of Soros Fund Management, sold common stock and bought up preferred stock in the company.

The move would indicate that Soros is looking to capitalize on a spread between each type of stock.

The filling with the SEC also showed Soros built his stake in oil company Hess Corp. to a $5.1 million share position.

He also bought up InterOil, Plains Exploration & Production and Suncor Energy.

In addition to cutting his position in Petrobras, Soros decreased his ownership of Potash Corp. and ConocoPhillips.

Here's the bank's fact sheet where they point out that the decision to make the loan was made in April, before any of the President's appointees had joined the board. He was trading on publicly available information and just happened to get the timing of the stock maneuvers perfect.

I've never seen such a news release before.

Here's an excellent piece from Bloomberg on what the PBR swap meant.

Here's Mr Soros giving Congressional testimony:

"You have my word as a hedge fund manager...."

[George Soros]